How to Burn Off 24 Holiday Foods
The exercise cost of holiday foods
The average adult gains 1 to 2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. That doesn't sound like a lot, but think about it: if you pack on 2 pounds annually on fattening holiday foods, then you'll be up 10 pounds by year five.
This year, prepare for 6 weeks of temptation by familiarizing yourself with just how much activity you'd need to burn off your favorite foods. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that people were less likely to buy a 20-ounce bottle of soda when they learned that they'd have to run for 50 minutes to burn it off. Note: calorie counts for these dishes vary widely by recipe, and exercise calculations are based on a 150-pound person.
Pumpkin pie is actually one of the healthier desserts you can eat during the holidays—the gourd is an excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, and a slice racks up fewer calories than other seasonal favorites. Just be sure to limit yourself to one-eighth slice of a pie.
Calories: 323 per slice
Burn it off: Ice skate for 41 minutes
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The main ingredient in apple pie is, of course, apples. But don't let that fool you into thinking the sweet treat is a nutritious food. One slice contains 14 grams of fat, with 5 grams of saturated fat. Still, it's one of the safer bets on the holiday dessert table.
Calories: 296 per slice
Burn it off: Build a snowman for 53 minutes
From the best, we segue to the worst. Pecan pie is notoriously high in fat and calories. Why? The main ingredients are butter, sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and pecans. One slice racks up 41% of your daily allowance of total fat, with 27 grams (5 saturated).
Calories: 503 per slice
Burn it off: Shovel snow for an hour and 15 minutes
Sweet potato pie
If you must have sweet potato pie over the holidays, at least follow a recipe that excludes the traditional meringue topping. The mixture of well-beaten egg whites and sugar adds about 125 calories to your slice.
Calories: 510 per slice
Burn it off: Go snowboarding for an hour and 11 minutes
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A giant turkey leg supplies a day's worth of fat (54 grams) and enough calories for two large meals. Why not have a serving of turkey breast instead, and pair it with just a small portion of the dark meat? You'll save over 800 calories.
Calories: 1,135 per leg
Burn it off: Run a Turkey Trot 5K race—and then run it three more times
Don't let the relatively low calorie count fool you: bread stuffing is still a dieter's disaster. This type of stuffing is no more than seasoned white bread cut into small hunks and soaked with melted butter. This year, try making your own stuffing. Some healthier (and even more delicious) options: Corn Bread Stuffing With Cranberries, Couscous-and-Spinach Stuffing, Cornbread, Sausage, and Herb Stuffing.
Calories: 150 per 1/2 cup
Burn it off: Run for 15 minutes